- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
PRICHARD, Ala. -- When it came time to make a decision, Vigor defensive end Justin Thornton was having second thoughts. The ESPN 150 prospect considered pushing his announcement back to the original date in August.
However, he told Recruiting Nation on Thursday that he’s ready to go through with it and plans to announce his decision at 10 a.m. CT Sunday at his church.
“I just want to close to the door,” Thornton said. “There’s a lot on me. I’m going through it for the first time, and I don’t know how to deal with it. I took my visits and I liked everything I saw. If I commit, I can focus more on my grades.”
“I’ve kind of let it get to my head, but I’m going to change that and get to my old ways.”
The decision will come down to a trio of SEC West teams -- Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M. Vigor coach Ashley Johnson said making a choice has been tough on Thornton, as all three teams have made a great impression.
“Everybody likes him,” Johnson said. “They’re all great programs. I think he goes and visits one, they talk to him, he visualizes himself there and thinks this is where I want to be, but then two weeks later, the same thing happens.
“He looks like a grown man, but he’s just a kid still. It’s a difficult decision for anybody to make, especially someone his age. I wouldn’t want to put myself in his shoes.”
Thornton visited Auburn this past weekend. The Tigers just picked up a commitment Wednesday from ESPN 150 linebacker Tre Williams, another Mobile product, and they also have a commitment from Thornton’s high school teammate, linebacker Deshaun Davis.
“The visit went well,” Thornton said. “I love their environment. It makes me feel comfortable. Auburn treats me like family. The new coaches are nice. I love them. I love them all. [Davis] says I need to get my butt up there.”
Thornton grew up watching LSU and wanting to play for their defense, so it’s no surprise the Tigers cracked the top three.
“I love their defense, love the coaches, love the environment, love the program,” he said.
The third finalist, Texas A&M, emerged late in the process. Thornton recently visited College Station, and he liked what he saw and what he heard from the coaches. Also, his father lives not far from the campus.
“It went well,” Thornton said. “Everything is nice. That’s why I put them in my top three because they told me some good stuff, and I can believe them. I trust them. They told me I need to come up there because they’ve got a good spot for me, playing defensive end. They need defensive ends. And they’ve got a good environment.”
It’s safe to say that Thornton will choose an SEC school. Why the SEC?
“That’s where the big boys play,” he said.